Remembering My Farm Dog Ida Mae

Ida Mae circa 2004

Ida Mae circa 2004

I lost my girl today after twelve years. Exactly twelve years ago TO THE DAY I picked up a plump, fuzzy little yellow lab from the breeder. I picked her from a litter of at least 10 puppies and couldn't wait to bring her home. I named her Ida Mae and I lost her today.

My heart is simply aching right now. I can't eat, I can't sleep.  Part of me feels like if I just sit and write for a bit, perhaps I might feel more than numbness and disbelief. Please feel free to stop reading now. I understand and won't think less of you. If you knew Ida Mae  though, I just need to celebrate her and work through this in a story. Feel free to listen.

Ida adjusting to her new home at the cottage with Sadie the cat and I.

Ida adjusting to her new home at the cottage with Sadie the cat and I.

The thing about losing Ida today is that I didn't just lose my dog. She has been my confidant for the past twelve years. I've called her my "first born" on more than one occasion. Ida was with me for some of the hardest times of my life and most certainly for some the best times. She was a driving buddy, a snuggle machine, an alarm clock, an exercise companion, a ring bearer in our wedding and a watch dog enamored with our children. She accepted every role we asked of her and she did so with such dedication and voracious love. 

We had a good last day with Ida yesterday here on the farm. She showed no signs of preparing to leave us. She swam in the pond, she barked at the kids in her self imposed role as lifeguard, she ate her treat before bed and she was given her daily dose of affection and attention. It was a good day.

Today I watched my amazing husband dig her grave after our little family said goodbye to her at the vet. Ida had acute onset pneumonia that she may or may not have recovered from. I couldn't live with the idea of her hurting and treatment wasn't promising. Listening to her labored breathing this morning told me that the day had arrived to make one of life's most difficult choices. I held her when she went and I told how much I loved her. For those of you who know me, I would have given that dog a kidney if she needed it. My love for her is fierce.

Ida rests next to the pond here on our farm. She has a front porch view of her favorite swimming hole where she can keep one eye on the kids she protected so tenderly. There are many memories of her in that pond and I couldn't imagine a better place to sit and "be" with her. 

Ida Mae the official ring bearer on our wedding day July 22, 2006. 

Ida Mae the official ring bearer on our wedding day July 22, 2006. 

Cheers to my sweet girl for all the truly wonderful memories I hold tight. I am proud to say that not a single day went by without telling her I loved her and I know she will always be with me. Rest in peace Ida Mae. I love you to the moon and back.